Exiled Kingdom simply has the RPG elements I like in a game. I want to explore, I want to grind, I want to level-up, I want to find secrets, and I want a pretty good story in a decent world. I also want a decent user interface.
We have extremely similar tastes here. I usually lean on metroidvanias with leveling & exp gain features such as Castlevania SOTN, Timespinner, Bloodstained ROTN, and so on.
Not sure how many times I've replayed EK. Discovered the game in 2016 when I was off work for two weeks after a motorcycle accident. Never found another game so appropriately straight forward. There's a few that come close, or do it in their own way for sure.
What really sets this game apart for me is that there's no true shortcuts. You can go grind minotaurs, but you still gotta work for it. Anyone who's played knows what I mean.
Gaining a level actually feels like an event, especially after level 10. It does a really dang good job of making sure there's always something that can kick your <expletive>, like the Arena or something.
I would say Morrowind kind of pulls this off in a lot of ways with the exploration factor. Some special weapons & armors are only found by putting some boots on and flying around. But unlike EK, I think it's easier to cheese your way to overpowered if you know what you're doing.
But that too - in EK there's some gear you can finagle a little early if you know how to prepare for it. But even when you get it, you're not really overpowered. Just a little enhanced, I'd say.
Yeah there's only a handful of games in my library that I find myself revisiting often. EK is definitely one of them.
Also this may be more of a niche appreciation, but EK doesn't have a lot of flashing graphics. So it's one of the few games I can enjoy if I'm having a migraine and need to take my mind off it. Other games are just spazzy flashing lights (or they feel that way when your deep into a migraine headache).