Cure the Werewolf's Woe

by Harrison Ho and Herman Chau


This puzzle is presented as a video game with 9 levels. The mechanics of the game are a mixture of Sokoban and a logic puzzle variant called Color Akari. Each level consists of the player character, some number of colored moons, some number of labeled colored blocks, and some number of walls. The goal of each level is to move the colored blocks so that they have the right mixture of moonlight shining on them and it turns out that there is a unique solution to each puzzle.

Initially, the player is a regular wolf and cannot interact with other objects. However, when various combinations of colored moonlight shine on the player, they turn into a werewolf of the appropriate color and can interact with objects in different ways depending on their color. Colored light mixes additively and moons can only be red, green, or blue. Below is a precise description of the game's rules:

Light addition: There are 8 possible colors of light: black (K), red (R), green (G), blue (B), yellow (Y), cyan (C), magenta (M) and white (W). They satisfy the additive rules R + G = Y,  G + B = M, R + B = C, and R + G + B = W. The absence of light is K.

Goal: A block labeled with the number N must have exactly N beams of moonlight shining on it. The additive mixture of all moonlight shining on the block must equal the color of the block. Some clarifying examples: a (0,K) block must have 0 beams of light shining on it whereas a (0,R) block cannot be satisfied; a (3, C) block may have either 2 G and 1 B beams of light shining on it or 1 G and 2 B beams of light.

Werewolf abilities:

  • R: Moving into a block swaps the block's position with the werewolf's.
  • G: Moving into a single block that has empty space behind it pushes it.
  • B: Moving into a single block pushes it in the corresponding direction until hits another object.
  • Y: Moving into a block with an empty space behind it produces a copy of the block in the empty space. The labeled number on the original block is halved, rounding down, and assigned to both the block and its copy. Moving a block with a block behind it merges the two blocks, adding both their labeled numbers and their colors.
  • C: Moving into a moon pushes it.
  • M: Moving into a block or wall pushes the longest contiguous chain of blocks and walls one space.
  • W: The colors of all moons change according to the cyclic rules R -> G, G -> B, B -> R.

The final locations of the blocks in the solution to all 9 levels do not overlap. Overlaying their solutions onto a single 8x8 yields the following:

On the game's menu, each square of the 8x8 grid is associated with an 8 letter word and each letter is associated with one of the colors. For each block in the above configuration, we take the letter of the appropriate color in the appropriate position, spelling out I'M HIRSUTER MH META. This is a reference to the 2019 MIT Mystery Hunt Halloween Town - Valentine's Day Town meta, which is also appropriately about werewolves. This meta involved an 8x8 square of letters which matches the size of the menu screen. Taking the letters that correspond to the positions of the levels on the menu yields the answer MOONSHINE which may, ironically, cure the werewolf of their woe.


Here are GIF walkthroughs of all 9 levels.