EA already said that Plants vs Zombies 2‘s July 18 release date would be delayed slightly until later this summer, but today PopCap announced that it is kicking off a soft launch today in Australia and New Zealand to fine tune the experience. In fact, the game is already available on the App Store in both Australia and New Zealand (and of course any user can access the download with an Apple ID associated with one of those locations).

we are launching the game a bit early in Australia and New Zealand to help us test out all of the new systems and features we’ve built into the game. We’ve added a bunch of new features that allow us to take advantage of new technologies to make a better experience for our players, and those innovations require us to perform some large tests to make sure we are ready for our worldwide audience to play.

PopCap already announced that the game would be a free-to-play experience, but today noted that it will “be testing all sorts of different aspects of the game’s functionality, pricing, stability, etc.”

A break down of new game features from iTunes below:

Game Features

NEW PLANTS! NEW ZOMBIES!
Meet B**k Choy, Bloomerang and Lightning Reed: Just a few of the powerful new plants that will defend your lawn through time. Go toe-to-missing-toe with dozens of new zombies including Ra Zombie in Ancient Egypt, Swashbuckler Zombie on the Pirate Seas, or Chicken Wrangler Zombie in the Wild West. In every new world, clever new zombies and brain-teasing challenges will test your zombie-zapping skills.

AMAZING NEW WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR BRAIN
New Plant Food and power-ups will take your game to new dimensions. Plant Food will supercharge your plants when you need it most. Use your fingers to pinch, flick and zap zombies off your lawn.

LOOK OUT! ZOMBIE CHICKENS!
Seriously.

NEW LEVELS OF EXCITEMENT
Battle the fun-dead on land, on sea and… on the rails? Unlock ultra-challenging (and ultra-fun) endless levels — Pyramid of Doom, Pirate’s Booty and the Big Bad Butte.

THE FUN NEVER DIES
Gather keys to unlock brain teasers and new plants. Collect coins to purchase potent power-ups. Earn stars to take you to new worlds. Survive long enough and you’ll be rewarded with piles of prizes and achievements. And that’s just the beginning! The future holds many mysteries. Also, zombies. Lots and lots of zombies.