What are those Atomic Heart Testing Grounds, anyway? It’s quite possible to play through the entirety of Atomic Heart without stepping foot in one of the Testing Grounds – or Polygons – marked on the map, because they’re an entirely optional side endeavour for Major P3 to tackle while trying to stop the robot uprising.
The main reason to tackle Atomic Heart Testing Grounds is to find new attachments and upgrades for the best Atomic Heart weapons. You’ll know exactly what rewards you can earn before going in if you take a look at the Atomic Heart map, with each attachment listed in bronze, silver, and gold rarities – more on those in a moment. So if you’re playing this open-world game and want to know what you can get from the Atomic Heart Testing Grounds, or Polygons as they’re also referred to, here’s the lowdown.
Atomic Heart Testing Grounds explained
Atomic Heart Testing Grounds are optional, smaller underground facilities that require you to solve puzzle rooms of increasing difficulty. While most of the quests in Atomic Heart take place in underground facilities, there’s a whole open world to explore too. The way to access Atomic Heart Testing Grounds is slightly different each time – some may be behind a locked door, others you need to access via manipulating the camera network, or others may be free to access from the get-go.
Once you enter and descend into the depths, you’ve got plenty of rooms to explore. Don’t fret about going down the wrong path as you can always backtrack, so make sure you use the scanner frequently and loot everything you can. Be on the look-out for Atomic Heart bosses, which tend to crop up along the way, and stock up on Atomic Heart cartridges to easily dispatch them.
Puzzles usually involve magnets or parkour, and you may encounter some hostile enemies – though usually less than in a typical main quest or on the surface. As you progress, you’ll also encounter lootyagins – bronze, silver, and gold robots with a chest instead of a head, stuck perpetually trying to move forward. These are where you obtain the rewards marked on the map, and once you reach the end, you should’ve found all three lootyagins.
That’s all there is to it! Atomic Heart Testing Grounds are well worth exploring if you want to upgrade your arsenal, and it’s a surefire way of extending how long it takes to reach the Atomic Heart ending. For more help with this alternate history FPS game, make sure you read up on the best Atomic Heart skills, learn about whether there’s Atomic Heart Steam Deck support, and make sure you can run the game with the Atomic Heart system requirements. We also have a list of the best PC games if you fancy playing something else.
Developer Mundfish has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks after it was alleged that the Russian government stands to gain financially from the release of Atomic Heart. This is due to the fact that investors involved in financing Mundfish include GEM Capital, an investment fund whose founder has ties to Gazprom and VTB Bank, both of which are majority-owned by the Russian state.
Further, Mundfish is partnering with VK (formerly Mail.RU) for the Russian release of Atomic Heart, evading sanctions on Steam. VK is also majority-owned by the Russian state through Gazprombank, and Mundfish’s CEO is a former Creative Director at Mail.RU.
With Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, many players are choosing to boycott the game in protest and donate money to organisations like The Ukraine Crisis Appeal, International Rescue Committee, and the British Red Cross.