In Against All Odds, you play a citizen of a repressive country who is (in the first of twelve acts) detained by the police and forced to flee. The first four deal with escaping from your country, the next four with trying to establish refugee status in a host country, and the final four with attempting to adjust to life in a strange land. It was developed under the auspices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
All fine, high-minded, and perhaps even informative, and the "game" (if it is such) provides web links for more information for students and teachers. In fact, it's not much of a game qua game however; indeed, only act 3, in which you use the arrow keys to try to evade the police and get out of town, is all that interesting from a gamer's perspective. Most of the other acts either involve multiple choice responses, or clicking on a series of on-screen items and reading what happens. Needless to say, strategy is either nonexistant, or obvious (e.g., agree with everything the police say when they detain you, or they will beat you senseless and your tortured body will be found in a ditch somewhere, yes?)
Actually, Against All Odds is sort of a didactic Flash docudrama with minor interactive elements, but taken as such, it does have some merit, and even a few clever touches. The visuals, the incomprehensible gabble of most of the characters you meet, and the portentous music combine to create an emotional context -- scary in the first acts, more poignant in the later ones -- that succeeds in the developers' clear design objective: inculcating a sense of sympathy for refugees. One clever touch is the classroom, where the teachers and other students speak incomprehensibly, with word balloons appearing in an indecipherable script that looks at bit like Thai; reminded me a bit of a time when I tried to order a sandwich from a vendor on a train in Denmark, who was obviously of Asian abstraction, and one of the few Danish citizens I've met who spoke not a word of English. (Pointing helps.)
There are some occasional misfires, too; in one act, you're given brief descriptions of eight characters and asked to say whether each is an "immigrant" or a "refugee"; its a misfire, because it's obvious in every case, and in reality it isn't always so obvious. Similarly, there's an act in which you're asked to sort various objects into "comes from America" or "comes from other countries" (making me wish I knew enough Danish or German to play one of the other language versions--do they sort into "comes from Denmark" or not?). It's a tad silly, particularly as some of the "right" choices are arguable (chewing gum may have been invented in the US, but chicle comes from Central America originally), and while the Wright brothers were American, the plane shown looks quite like an Embraer, which is, of course, Brazilian.
One the one hand, Against All Odds is sadly typical of too many serious games, in that it does not make the necessary leap of imagination to provide an actual game that, through play, demonstrates its message; Ayiti: The Cost of Life does much better on that score. Instead, it is essentially a linear and didactic enterprise, the kind of thing for which film is actually better suited. Yet it succeeds in extracting emotion, and in teaching something and, at least on that score, has some merit.