The motif of the series is retro video gaming, as the Riders of the show utilize game cartridges called Rider Gashats and have gear and form motifs inspired by retro video games. The series also integrates medical drama into the story because one of the main settings is a hospital and some of the main Riders are doctors. The tagline of the show is "Game Start!".
5 years ago, a new type of virus, named the Bugster Virus, infected humanity and turned them into creatures called Bugsters. In the present day, Emu Hojo, an intern and a genius gamer, receives the Gamer Driver and the Mighty Action X Gashat to transform into Kamen Rider Ex-Aid. Along with several other Riders, Emu must compete to save people from the Bugster Virus and become the "super doctor" who'll save humanity!
Most of the Riders of this series have four multi-colored "Buttons" on their chestplates. This is a possible gaming reference to the popular Super Famicom controller, as that had similarly colored buttons on its controls.
The show's title is a multiple form of word play, as the "aid" in Ex-Aid is an allusion to First Aid. Another hidden pun is the Japanese pronunciation in katakana is "E-gu-zei-do", which has a close similar sound to the English word "Excite" when pronounced in Japanese, "E-ku-sai-to". This is even referenced by the title of the show's opening theme. The final wordplay contains the Japanese pronunciation of the .EXE file extension ("E-gu-ze").
Similarly, the Bugsters' nature as sentient viruses, is a play on the concept of computer viruses as well as biological pathogens, hence the heroes' civilian identities as doctors.
This is the first season where there are two female riders taking a central part in the show.
This Kamen Rider series shares some similar elements with its first Super Hero Time partner, Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger:
It uses pixelated graphic effect, similar one used for Cube effects in Zyuohger.
Its theme of "game" is similar to the Deathgalien's Blood Game.
Thought being different concepts, both series involved "Continues" (In Zyuohger the Continues were some kind of medals filled with the main villain Ginis' cells to allow the Deathgalien players to revive as giants while in Ex-Aid, the Continues were extra lives used by Kuroto after being revived as a Bugster).
The purpose of Kamen Rider Chronicle was to revive every individual who had succumbed to the Bugster Virus or suffered a Game Over, though Kuroto primarily wanted to revive his deceased mother. In Ryuki, Shiro began the Rider Fight in an effort to save his sister from her demise.
Kamen Rider Chronicle pits various individuals given a mass produced variant of the gashat compete against one another to defeat the Bugsters for the opportunity to bring back their loved ones once they learn that any who completes Kamen Rider Chronicle can revive any who died, and at one point, the Rider Players attack the Kamen Riders. In Ryuki, 13 Riders are pitted against one another to have their wish granted.
The Ride-Players can also be considered to be the same as the Alternative Riders from Ryuki, as both are unofficial Kamen Riders as well as "mass produced" variants.
Ex-Aid is the final Rider series to entirely air at 8 am. Starting in October, Kamen Rider Build moved to 9 am, airing before Uchu Sentai Kyuranger and its successor.
This is the final Kamen Rider series to premiere in October, starting with Kamen Rider Build, the Kamen Rider series return to premiere in September.