Torchlight and more drains on your time in our new release picks for March 8, 2011

While party people are likely celebrating Fat Tuesday by hitting the streets and getting sucker punched by as much beers as their gut can handle, some of us prefer to spend our days indoors consuming mass amounts of media and feeling sorry for ourselves for not having any friends. Thankfully, there are plenty of new things being released this week to entertain you while you hide out from the boobies and beads. These include a game that's sure to be a time-sink, a worldless graphic novel, a TV show everyone was raving about that happens to also include zombies and more. 5. The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht Téa Obreht made her way on to the New Yorker's "20 under 40" list last year for good reason: She's damn good at spinning a yarn. The book is about as Eastern-European as it can get, with bones causing a supernatural curse on a family, a deaf-mute being awesome and Germany being awful. There is plenty of mythology mixed into it all, sure to provoke words like "breathtaking," "spellbinding" and "epic" from hack book reviewers, but know this: The hype behind Oreht is real. It may not seem worth reading based on the description, but she manages to pull it off a real epic, breathtaking and spellbinding tour-de-force in the end. 4. Night Animals by Brecht Evans Sometimes, words are for pussies. Thankfully, Brecht Evans, our second European on the list this week, knows this. Night Animals is a graphic novel in the traditional sense of the words, meaning it's a novel filled with graphics that foregoes the wordiness of most adult stories and sticks to telling the story with pictures only. Thankfully, it's weird in all the right ways, especially when we're privy to the story of a rabbit-suited man who goes on a blind date. Who needs words for a thing like that? 3. The Walking Dead, Season 1 (DVD, Blu-ray) Yeah, we can't afford cable either, which is why we had to force our ear-holes shut when the universe was raving about how The Walking Dead wasn't the steaming pile of pop-culture crap that we assumed it would be. Apparently the universe isn't as sick of zombies as the rest of us. Despite our fed-upness of the undead, The Walking Dead managed to be a story about humans who happen to be involved in the zombie apocalypse. Sure, it's gory, often stupid, remarkably pretentious and tends to be over-dramatic, but at least its not Resident Evil. 2. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell (paperback) We don't tend to bother with paperback releases, as they've already been available in hardcover form for a few months, but Ten Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet is good enough to get the hat tip. David Mitchell has already made a name for himself as a master of language and multiple storylines with Cloud Atlas, but in this novel he takes on the traditional novel form, with a straightforward approach to historical fiction. It still works, if nothing else because Jacob De Zoet is a perfect blend of the unlikeable and the lovable. 1. Torchlight (Xbox Live Arcade) When Torchlight was released two years ago for PC, it managed to eat away the lives of everyone who has spent the last six million years waiting for Diablo 3 to be released. It offered loot-whores and dungeon explorers a chance to return to the by-gone days of clicking the left mouse button enough to cause permanent damage. Sure, the story is thin as a page from the Bible, but it's not about the story, it's about looting a dungeon and finding ridiculous weapons. It might lack variety, but it nails the addictive nature of these types of games. You'll dive in for an hour of mindless fun and emerge thirty years later with a beard made of Cheetos and muscle atrophy in every part of your body but your thumbs.
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Thorin Klosowski
Contact: Thorin Klosowski