In every of the 15 main worlds, there are 6 Power Stars (7 in the remake) in each world.
They are generally claimed via the following kinds of missions:
- Defeating a boss character in a Boss Fight (one)
- Gathering all the 8 Red Coins in of the current world (one)
- Various tests of skill (one or two)
- Finding hidden Stars by exploring the level (one or two)
- By collecting all the 100 Coins in a level (one)
If the player has collected all 100 Painting Stars, they can go back and collect 100 plus Coins in each level to gain another Star, equaling 115.
Five more Power Stars can be gained as follows: Two are in The Princess's Secret Slide, one in The Secret Aquarium, and two from a castle Toad. In total, the full bar will equal 120 Stars. In Super Mario 64 DS, thirty extra Stars have been added, increasing the number of collectible Power Stars to 150. Also in the remake, an extra 7th Star has been added in each world.