Valkyrius is an arcade style vertical scrolling shoot-em-up with sufficient polish to allow it to stand up alongside some of the better offerings in the genre.
The expected ingredients for this type of game, are all there: waves of enemies, bullet patterns to dodge, end of level bosses, and weapon power-ups.

What sets this title apart from its competition is a teleportation mechanic that this reviewer has not encountered in this genre of games before. Surrounding your spacecraft at all times is a visible circle that represents your teleportation range. Pressing one of the four face buttons on the controller will immediately warp your ship in the corresponding cardinal direction. The "range circle" can be toggled between two different sizes, each representing the distance your spacecraft will travel. This mechanic changes the way the game plays dramatically, and the game itself does a good job of encouraging you to use it fairly early on. It's particularly useful for getting yourself out of a tricky situation, and for zapping past incoming waves of bullets during boss fights. After a while, teleporting your ship around the playing area becomes second nature, and you'll be warping around so much you'll wonder how you ever survived without it.

Another area in which this game is fairly distinctive, is in it's accessibility to both veterans of the genre and newcomers alike. There are three difficulty levels available (Easy, Normal and Hard) with a further two more challenging ones you can unlock after beating the Hard mode. Each is aptly balanced, and it's nice to see a game of this genre that doesn't expect everyone to be a bullet-dodging pro the first time they play it.
Further evidence that this was designed for enjoyment, rather than to eat through quarters like it's arcade counterparts would be, comes in the form of a recharging shield equipped to your spaceship. When you take a hit your shield goes down and will begin recharging. It takes a while to power back up, but can be a real life saver (as well as creating some pretty tense moments when you're up against it and waiting for it to charge).

Also worth noting is the quality of the soundtrack. Valkyrius features some great up-tempo tracks that match the frenetic action on screen nicely. The visuals are crisp and clear enough to never obscure the player's view, though they might lack a little of the bombast that it's arcade counterparts generally feature.
Other features include upgrades to your ship (as well as extra credits) that can be bought using currency earned in-game, and a score multiplyer system, as well as local high score leaderboards.

All in all, I would thoroughly recommend this game to both shmup veterans and to people who, like myself, enjoy them without necessarily being particularly adept at them. Well worth the asking price!

Get Valkyrius on XBox 360
Get Valkyrius on Desura