It’s been a while since we heard from Karios Games, makers of the indie hit MonsterUp. While that game continues to receive regular updates, Karios has recently released a new title to the Marketplace: Galaxium.

Galaxium is a vertically-scrolling 2D shooter, not unlike OMG and Impossible Shoota. Players can select from three different ships, each with its own speed and shield stats. Speed is crucial to dodging enemy fire, but shields are also important since you only have a single life per game. The ship fires automatically, so gamers can concentrate on lining up with enemies, dodging their fire, and collecting powerups.

Speaking of powerups, Galaxium’s powerup system is modeled after the Gradius series. A meter at the bottom of the screen displays a variety of potential ship upgrades, from speed to diagonal fire to firing rate. There is only one kind of powerup in the game – each time one is collected, the meter fills up a unit. When the upgrade you want to use is highlighted, tap the screen with two fingers to spend your powerups and activate it. The choice between various upgrades and spending or saving powerup units helps Galaxium stand out from other Windows Phone shooters.

Galaxium also features VortexLink, Karios Games’ online leaderboard system. If you already own MonsterUp, the game automatically detects your VortexLink profile, which is very convenient. Online leaderboards always bring welcome competition and replay value to score-based games like this.

Fans of shoot-em-ups won’t have to spend much to climb into Galaxium’s selection of ships. The game is available in either a paid version for 99 cents or a free ad-supported version. You can find the paid version here (Zune link) and the free version here on the Marketplace. We’ll have a full review soon.