#4: Ark Survival Evolved
Ark is great, but it has one huge problem:
It takes way too much time and friends to properly enjoy. It takes hundreds of hours to reach max level, and even then you are grinding for specific tames for end game bosses.
It just drags as a game. To make matters worse, the disappearing dino glitch still exists to this day and most commonly affects baby dinos you bred.
When you finish the game, feel free to start over on another server with nothing.
It is great due to the amount of builing and such, but it has a couple major problems. For one, there seems to be a world, but really no reason to it. Why is there a dwarf? Why is there a cyborg? Are there answers? No answers, only more things to do.
Okay, don't hate me for putting this as #2 and not #1. Sure, it is great, but it lacks a ton of variety. You have to make the variety with what you have, which takes a butt ton of time. Many of the best things online you find require some manner of heavy modding to work. People say "it is in vanilla", but they still found a way to hack the draw distance so that all the redstone works.
Villages are bland. So many missed opportunities.
2D, has story, has dialog, has characters, has multiple random worlds, and has huge variety in content. Every bit of this game is filled with character.
However, there are two things that make this game better than all the others. First, you can play solo without feeling alone because of the worlds. Second, the economy of exploration is way better in this game.
Actually, exploration in Starbound is better than in any of the above. Each planet has a set of biomes determined by the planet type and star type. You can go down, plant a flag to easily return, and then harvest from that biome. If you explore a bit, you will have all the access you need for the things to built you need.
As for the game world, it is meaningful, which is rare for some games. There are lore books, procedurally generated characters and enemies, and they all function quite well. Some give you quests, and you will have tons of stuff out there that is fun to find.
Remember when No Man's Sky made promises? This game supplied all those long before in 2D, and I say Starbound is much prettier to look at than the alternative, and also has more to do. Sure, NMS has space battles, but everything in that game is bland and dull and boring, but Starbound always feels fresh. Of course No Man's Sky is not listed because it is so darn boring.
It does not have the trolls of Minecraft, the meaningless of Terraria, or the drag of Ark. Starbound is the best.